Much confusion reigns over what is meant by ‘Vivienda Vacacional’ in Tenerife and the Canary Islands. The term itself translates literally as “holiday home”. However, in this context, it is more specifically used to denote an apartment or villa that is used for short term visits by the owner or that the owner rents out to tourists on short-term lets.
However, the legal meaning of the term ‘Vivienda Vacacional’ has evolved in recent years, particularly due to the introduction of Law 101/2015:
This law, some of which has been struck out or amended by a Judgment of the Spanish Constitutional Court, created a new category of accommodation under the heading of “Vivienda Vacacional”. Essentially, this is a new category to cover tourist rentals of independent properties (villas, houses etc) that are not part of a community of owners, plus a small number of residential apartment complexes which, whilst not having a tourist rental licence in place, they have not expressly prohibited tourist rentals in their rules and regulations.
The issue of a ‘Vivienda Vacacional’ licence is demonstrated by the placing of an authorised “V.V.” plaque in a visible location outside the relevant property.
The introduction of this new category has led to the issue of individual tourist rental licences for individual properties (e.g. to a single villa, or to a single apartment). However, much confusion appears to exist over which properties are actually eligible to apply for this category of tourist licence.
It should be noted that the vast majority of apartments in a larger building or villas that are part of a larger complex will NOT qualify for this type of licence for two possible reasons.
Firstly, for complexes designated as Touristic, law 7/1995 requires that the complex appoints a sole rental agent through which all tourist letting activities for the entire complex must be operated. According to the letter of the law, it is not permitted to rent to tourists except via this designated agent (However, for a more detailed discussion on the validity of the ‘sole agency’ law, see our additional article on the subject HERE).
Secondly, for complexes designated as Residential only, the vast majority have written into their statutes documentation an express prohibition against renting properties to tourists.
So in conclusion, the category of ‘Vivienda Vacacional’ is only available to independent properties that are not part of any community of owners, or to the very small number of residential apartment complexes that have not expressly prohibited tourist lettings in their community statutes.
We are aware of instances where owners of apartments or villas that are part of a community complex have applied for and obtained a ‘V.V.’ plaque. However, unless the above criteria apply to the property, such licences have almost certainly been obtained illegally. It should be noted that making a false declaration on an application for a ‘Vivienda Vacacional’ licence is now a criminal offence under Article 392 of the Spanish Penal Code.
By way of clarification, ‘tourist rentals’ are deemed to be any rental of less than 3 months duration.
Applications for a ‘Vivienda Vacacional’ licence can be submitted electronically HERE